Fifteen Ugandan banks have signed onto the TradeClear platform to ease and boost interbank trade within the country.
TradeClear is an interbank trading platform managed by financial services company Frontclear and is regulated by Bank of Uganda and overseen by the Uganda Bankers Association’s Treasurers Forum.
The Ugandan interbank market has been limited to the top players because they lacked the risk appetite to deal with smaller banks. This in turn affected the level of credit the smaller banks could extend to their customers.
Michael Atingi-Ego, deputy governor, Bank of Uganda, said during the signing ceremony at Sheraton Kampala Hotel on June.15 that TradeClear Uganda is expected to dislodge the logjam of market segmentation in the interbank money market.
“This umbrella guarantee facility will cover the risk of interbank defaults. If a borrowing bank fails to pay the lender in a secured transaction, Frontclear will stand ready to pay back the funds advanced by the lender,” he said.
“For long, some players in the local interbank money market have been relegated to fishing in shallow waters, while others hauled in the big catches from the deep waters. The existence of counterparty credit limits, which were set at zero in some cases, have constrained the fluid flow of liquidity among banks.”
Atingi-Ego said participation in the TradeClear program is voluntary and is based on the informed assessment and judgment of the participating financial institutions.
Frontclear CEO Philip Buyskes said he is optimistic that banks will join the platform.
“We have boarded 15 of the 23 banks in the country and expect others to join,” he said.
Charles Katongole from UBA’s Treasurers Forum noted that banks getting onto Tradeclear have the benefits of improving liquidity and more efficient management of capital.
Commenting on the developments, I&M Bank Uganda’s Executive Director and Chief Operations Officer Sam Ntulume said banks will now offer more competitive pricing and product solutions to their clients.
“Our customers will benefit from more specialized treasury solutions for their investments,” he said.
Some of the banks that have joined the platform include Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic Bank, Centenary Bank, Absa, Housing Finance, ABC Capital, Finance Trust Bank, Dfcu and Exim Bank.
The on-boarding of the banks is a climax to a Memorandum of Understanding BoU signed with Frontclear in 2019 to boost local money markets in Uganda.